Does SSD stop swap file beachballing?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by whitedragon101, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. whitedragon101 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #1
    My System : Early 2011 17" 2.2ghz i7, 500gb 7200rpm, 8gb RAM
    OS : Snow Leopard


    I have 8gb of RAM but OSX loves using the swap file. I only restarted last night and already the swap file is 1gb and will quickly climb to its usual 7-8gb. I run a lot of web browsers with a lot of windows and always get beachballs along with the sound of hard drive chattering.

    Has anyone switched to an SSD and noticed a reduction in beachballing when running and switching between a lot of web browsing windows and apps?
     
  2. satchow macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    #2
    I used to get a bunch of beach balls in OSX, just like I would get a lot of Hourglasses in Windows. Switching to an SSD has basically eliminated both for me.
     
  3. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 4, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    First of all, I would check in the directory /var/vm to see if OS X is actually paging out to the drive.

    If it is, then buy more RAM. That model can hold twice as much as you have now.
     
  4. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    #4
    Well, I rarely see a beach ball on my MBA with 4GB of RAM and an SSD. Surprisingly 4GB of RAM has not caused me a single issue yet - even when running VMs. I originally was planning on selling my MBA to get an 8GB model when they came out and now that they did, I have no desire to switch, it runs that well.
     
  5. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #5
    The pagefile gets used even when OSX has more RAM to use. I have seen others disable the pagefile so only RAM can be used but if you run out of RAM the system becomes unstable.
     
  6. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a

    ohbrilliance

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #6
    I solved my memory problems by moving back from Safari to Chrome. This was at least six months ago, and made a huge difference on my 2007 MBP with 4GB of ram.
     
  7. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    USA
    #7
    The pagefile is used to store the contents of RAM when the computer sleeps.

    The swapfiles are used for virtual memory.
     
  8. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #8
  9. damnyooneek macrumors 6502

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    Aug 14, 2005
    #9
    from my experience with a 2gb 2010 mba the answer is no. when i have 15 tabs in chrome open and 10 large pdf files open in preview swapping between them causes beach balling.
     
  10. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Sleepimage was what I was referring to, not pagefile. Pagefile is something to do with Windows.

    You say your swapfile is 7-8GB in size. What swapfile are you talking about, and where is it located?

    Because OS X should be using the directory /var/vm and it shouldn't be a single file. If it's paging out to the drive, their should be swapfile1, swapfile2, swapfile3, etc, in that directory.

    Located also in there is a sleepimage file. That file is the same size as the amount of RAM you have installed, in your case, 8GB. That's the file it dumps the contents of RAM into when your computer sleeps.
     
  11. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #11

    When I say swap file or page file I am referring to the hard disk space which the operating system uses to store working runtime information. This information should generally be stored in RAM but sometimes there is not enough RAM and the OS placed it on the hard disk. Also bafflingly OSX regularly uses the swap file even when there is enough RAM.

    I've never gone hunting for the swap file before but it does appear to be in the /var/vm directory as you say, which contains a number of swapfile1,swapfile2.... files. The activity monitor on OSX lets you know how much Swap has been used/created (under system memory) and how many page outs have occurred from it. I generally use iStat Pro for this as its a bit more convenient.

    I was hoping because SSDs are so much faster at random access it would prevent the beachballs.
     

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